Tilapia has fast become the go to fish for many restaurants here in the United States and around the world. But as it turns out, tilapia, long touted as a lean source of protein and good fats, may not be so good for us after all. New research is showing that it could be far less healthful than previously believed. According to Dr. Floyd Chilton, a noted professor of physiology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, “It may look like fish and taste like fish, but it does not have the benefits — it may be detrimental.”
Tilapia may actually do more harm than good, and is now linked to joint inflammation, Asthma, and coronary disease, among other serious disorders. And, as far as the omega 3 fatty acids that make fish such a tantalizing menu option, farm-raised tilapia actually has only about one third the important nutrient as other fish. It also may contain higher levels of pesticides, poultry feces, and carcinogens.
This made us wonder what else we didn’t know about fish and our diets, so we did a little digging and discovered some very interesting information.
Most of the food fish caught are in the northern hemisphere. In fact more than 90 percent of all fish consumed caught come from above the equator.
We get about 75 percent of all our food fish from marine sources, with the rest being fresh water species like catfish.
By 2030, more than 60 percent of all the fish we consume will be farm raised. And a huge portion of that will be tilapia.
Here in the United States, we import about 3 billion tons of fish and seafood every year.
All of this sounds like we eat a lot of fish, but as it turns out, fish only makes up about 7 percent of the world’s protein.
Even with the disturbing news about farm raised tilapia, there are still plenty of good reasons to eat fish, especially if it is cold water, wild caught fish like skipjack tuna, cod, halibut, sole, trout and turbot.
Fish is still a great source of high protein, low fat, low calorie nutrition. Fish also has been linked to helping with acne, heart disease, obesity, and may help maintain a mother’s health during pregnancy.
All of which is interesting when we are thinking about what to have for lunch, but what do we need to know about fish when the kids start asking for a pet?
Some fish are more suitable to living together than others. Betas and goldfish, a classic first pet, should always be kept in their own bowl or aquarium. Other species, like tetras, gouramis, and guppies do well in groups.
A good starter kit to teach kids about the responsibility of pet care is the goldfish. You don’t need much more than a decent sized bowl, some gravel, food, and a schedule for feeding changing the water. Also, since they do better by themselves and are very inexpensive, it’s not the major investment that a sophisticated aquarium, with a number of more exotic fish, pumps and filters will be.
What’s your favorite seafood dish? Have a great pet fish story? Let us know.